Apr/May 2009

From the Editors

From Tom Dooley, Managing and Fiction Editor

Melic founder and longtime contributor to Eclectica's Salon and poetry section, C. E. Chaffin's book of verse, Unexpected Light: Selected Poems and Love Poems 1998-2008, is available from Diminuendo Press. Take a look at three of Chaffin's poems and catch former Eclectica nonfiction contributor Norman Ball's review of Unexpected Light, all in this issue.

Now that's synergy!

For more synergy, see Elizabeth Glixman's interview with former fiction contributor Blake Butler, author of EVER, and another former fiction contributor Grace Andreacchi's review of Jackie Corley's Suburban Swindle. Corley hasn't yet appeared in Eclectica, but, hey, maybe someday.

Chaffin and Butler aren't the only Eclectica folks with books out. A.S. King's The Dust of 100 Dogs is now available at fine booksellers near you, as is Nicholas Hogg's Show Me the Sky.

In the website and blog department, check out Rajgopal Nidamboor's Upanishabd.com, the aforementioned Grace Adreacchi's blog Amazing Grace, and Private Photo Review, for which Alessio Zanelli is a contributing editor.

B.P. Whalen provides our sole entry in the humor department this issue with his erudite and deadpan (or is it bedpan?) review of a play about endoscopic surgery. As fiction co-editor Tamara Brenno-Uribarri said, "Testicles are super funny."

In Spotlight Author Aditi Machado's tightly written poems, personification is taken to a whole new level, turned on its head, and generally made to sing. Inanimate objects are made animate, natural is made unnatural, and vice-versa. Poetry editor Jennifer Finstrom points out that she uses the word 'jigsaw' twice in her poems:

I think that the word goes far to show the reader how character and place fit neatly together. A larger picture is revealed by many disparate elements. Even the nonhuman has an essential place: in "Campsite," the wild mushrooms are "little skulls, hiding, seeking," and the camera in "The Photographer's Escape" appears "as if poised on a skyscraper, about to jump." All of these are pieces of the puzzle: the nonhuman reveals the human, and locations both remembered and inhabited combine to show a multi-faceted character. The reader is welcomed into poems that present a picture of life that is much more than "a broken larynx."

Machado headlines a generous selection of poets that includes Chaffin and former Spotlight Author LeeAnn Pickrell, about whom Jennifer had this to say:

In her biographical note, LeeAnn refers to poetry as something that "opens time." This is nowhere more apparent than in her poem "August 6,1945." The poem details her parent's meeting and courtship, but the larger issue is the fluidity of time. World War II happens in the poem, as well as death and the fear of death. But there is also chocolate cake with candles, scrambled eggs, and dancing. "The earth does not pause in its/ rotation around itself," she writes in the final stanza. And it is true, for the reader is invited into a vast, nonlinear world.

We have a new voice in the Salon. Adam Carl joins longtime contributors Thomas J. Hubschman (founding editor of Gowanus) and Stanley Jenkins, whose singular prose also graces this issue's nonfiction section. And speaking of nonfiction, Ray Templeton, who has become a regular fixture in our poetry section, gives us a fascinating piece that is part memoir, part review of the novel and film Saturday Night and Sunday Morning.

In fiction, Paul Silverman and Anna Sidak are back, along with four newcomers to the magazine, presenting a nicely varied collection of stories.

In travel, William Reese Hamilton gives us another fascinating look into the fabric of life in Venezuela, while Jim Parks takes us on a deadly force road trip that, like many Eclectica travel pieces of late, pushes the envelope of what can be considered "travel" writing.

Overall, another strong issue to take us into the summer of 2009, a summer that's ripe with hope, possibility, and uncertainty—and while I could be talking about the world economy or U.S. politics, I was really referring to our adoption saga. As many readers know, my wife and I have been pursuing the adoption of two children from Haiti for the past year. On April 1st, we traveled to Port-au-Prince for the fifth time to visit Lise and Evans. This will be our final trip until we're able to bring them home, but when that happy occasion will be is still a mystery. With any luck, it will be before the next issue comes out in July, and I'll be able to post a picture of the children in their new home. For now, I'll include a picture below from this last visit.

Best wishes and happy reading,


Port-au-Prince, Haiti, Apr '09


Previous Piece Next Piece